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I bought a "Moleskine" blank-paged journal book just before leaving for our family reunion in Alberta and British Columbia, having decided to travel light and not take my oil paints, but work in ink and watercolour instead. It has been so long since I wrote one of my looseleaf journal pages that I thought I'd try something new... I mean old - returning to working in sewn-bound hard cover volumes, because the Moleskine is so charming, and of archival quality.
The paper is delightful to work on, being opaque enough that there are no shadows of text, drawings, or paintings showing through on the backs of pages, and smooth enough for the finest ink lines. Pencil shows well, and also erases well - and most pleasing to discover.... watercolour lifts off almost completely with the touch of a wet brush tip and the dab of my linen cloth. I have searched for years for a paper that behaves like this, and here it is, a whole volume of it, purchased untested and untried. This is not even the Moleskine "watercolour journal". There wasn't one at the store where I went to buy the journal. They used to carry the watercolour journal... so I just took a chance with one of the standard unlined volumes.
It opens very flat and is altogether comfortable for working in. The present manufacturer of this traditional journal book has maintained the quality that made its reputation among writers and artists since Van Gogh's time.
Wikipedia tells me "Moleskine notebooks are the spiritual successors of, and as a result share likenesses to, notebooks that were popular in Paris during the 19th and 20th centuries, handmade by small French bookbinders who supplied the local stationery shops. Around the turn of the 20th century, some notable users of similar black notebooks include Oscar Wilde, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso,Ernest Hemingway and Henri Matisse." and continues with a history of its reinvention and manufacture, as well as a pleasing account of ethical and environmental responsiblility.
I look forward to working more in this charming volume - but for now I must return to my efforts to complete the large commissioned oil painting that's been on my easel since early spring.